Mexican Street Corn Grilled Polenta Bites


Mexican Street Corn Grilled Polenta Bites

Last Saturday was one long celebration of Lucas’s birthday (though his actual birthday is today!). We meant to get up early to spend the full day at food festivals, but in true Sarah-Lucas form, we slept in (shocker). We’re the kind of people who set three alarms – 7:00, 7:12, 7:20. And still press snooze. (Also, who are we kidding? The first alarm is definitely after 8am *cough9amcough*). We moseyed our way to Bite, where we met up with Carla to stuff our faces with food from some of the best chefs in the country doing awesome things like 3D printing sugar cubes and making tacos on solar-powered stoves.

These Mexican street corn grilled polenta bites are a riff on those tacos. Only they can be eaten in one bite – all the more perfect for your summer cookout. Plus, I teamed up with Pacific Foods to use their new organic polenta line, making this appetizer come together in a jiffy. Cute factor + easy prep? Win-win.

Grilled Polenta BitesGrilled Corn

Having eaten enough at the festival to hibernate for a month, we went straight to a Sufjan Stevens concert without dinner. Have you been to a Sufjan Stevens concert? It’s like 2 parts concert, 1 part comedy show, 1 part weird acid trip, and 5 parts weed. The funky skunk smell was so pervasive that it stopped phasing us (aka we stopped snickering about it) 15 minutes in – and it was indoors at the Fox Theatre!

Mexican Street Corn Grilled Polenta Bites

He started the first half of the show without saying a word, letting the meditative music do the talking. He transitioned to the softest saddest banjo you ever heard, telling half-truth stories about his childhood. Then at one point I’m pretty sure the band decided to ditch the idea of music altogether in an attempt to rattle the room/building/block as loud as possible. As if all the pots and pans fell from the top shelf of your cabinets onto the cement floor. All at once.

But for 5 minutes straight.

I could feel my bowels vibrate.

Mexican Street Corn Grilled Polenta Bites

So anyway – how about these polenta bites? They’re killer. Buttery corn polenta cakes topped with sweet corn. Dollop some tangy creamy sauce over top, add a bit of heat, and sprinkle on some queso fresco for good measure. Nothing says American summer barbecue like a buttery ear of sweet corn, and these one-bite wonders are a corn-splosion (go with it), but without the requisite toothpicks and floss. Win-win-win.

Mexican Street Corn Grilled Polenta Bites

Pacific Food‘s pre-cooked organic polenta (now available at Whole Foods nationwide) makes the perfect party-bite canvas – just slice, grill, and they’re ready to go. If you’re feeling feisty, try the jalapeno cheddar polenta as the base for these Mexican street corn grilled polenta bites. Or try topping them with this Roasted Red Pepper, Feta, and Thyme Spread. Whatever you do, invite me to the barbecue.

Mexican Street Corn Grilled Polenta Bites

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Mexican Street Corn Grilled Polenta Bites
Yields: 30-40 bites
  • 2 ears sweet corn, shucked
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • 1½ tablespoons lime juice (from 1-2 limes)
  • 1½ tablespoons water
  • 1 17-ounce box Pacific Foods Organic pre-cooked Polenta (original), sliced into ¼-inch thick ½-inch squares
  • 1 cup queso fresco
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ cup micro greens
  1. Preheat the grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the corn and bring the water back to a boil, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the corn from the water and let cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the corn off the cob.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the greek yogurt, lime juice, and water together until smooth.
  4. Brush the grill or grill pan with canola oil and grill each polenta square about 2-3 minutes on each side, or just until grill marks appear. As they're finish, transfer the polenta squares to a serving platter.
  5. Top each grilled polenta square with a small spoonful of corn, a dollop of lime yogurt, a few crumbles of queso fresco, a light dusting of cayenne and smoked paprika, and a pinch of micro greens.

Disclosure: Thanks to Pacific Foods for sponsoring this post! Please rest-assured that all opinions expressed here are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep me in the kitchen.

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  1. Alanna says:

    Mexican street corn! This is so freaking genius. CAN I BE YOU??

  2. Gorgeous! I love polenta–it’s been too long since I’ve made it last!

  3. Veronica says:

    Genius! Love polenta and the first I had it was at a restaurant in Houston, Texas! A beautiful grilled salmon was placed on top of a bed of polenta that was out of this world! I love your idea of making this an appetizer! Happy Birthday to My Son!

  4. Um, this is stunning and sounds AMAZING. I haven’t had much polenta – I can’t even remember the last time I had it or how. I’m so hungry now…

  5. we can’t get enough corn in the summer, and this sounds like such a fun new way to eat it

  6. I’m a major corn lover so these have my name written all over them! I love that they come together so easy too!

    And Lucas’s early birthday celebration sounds like it was quite the experience! I probably would have got a contact high, haha!

  7. suki says:

    I love this alternative to Mexican street corn. Less messy, that’s for sure! :) Happy birthday to Lucas – Ryan is a Gemini also.

  8. Eva says:

    I love polenta and this is a great idea !

  9. Eva says:

    I think I’m goint to cook this very soon ! Looks amazing !

  10. Sarah! Hi! How are you? Oh, how I love me some street food — and bite-sized with polenta? Delish! How nice you went to eat with Carla. East Bay bloggers unite! My mouth is now watering for Mexican!

  11. I’ve never had polenta before, time to change that! These look incredible :)

  12. todd wagner says:

    It’s all about the 7:12am alarm. So underrated. As opposed to these polenta bites – they’re rated jussssst right. As in, delicious.

  13. Christine says:

    Sounds like he’s had a fantastic birthday! And he’s a lucky guy to have all your posts to eat! These sound sooooo delicious, Sarah!

  14. Hahahaha, the Sufjan concert. I want to go now just to experience the weirdness. And happy birthday to Lucas!

  15. If I had to describe a Sufjan concert, I think you hit it spot on! Totally loving these polenta bites! SO delicious and fresh!

  16. Pang says:

    Happy belated birthday Lucas :)
    Love this mexican polenta bites, lady!!! Looks so yummy I need all of them right now.
    As for 5-part- weed-the concert, I would have loved to go there when I was in college.. hahaha

  17. what and incredible way to serve polenta, love the summery touch on this, I am a die hard corn fan so I can’t wait to recreate this.

  18. Sarah,
    Now, that’s the way to spend a birthday!! Happy belated to Lucas! and ok LOVE these grilled corn polenta bites!!! Pacific Foods has a new organic polenta line??!!! totally looking for this the next time I’m at Whole Foods!!! and I seriously cannot wait to meet you in Madison!!! Hooray!!!

  19. These are PURDY! Love me some crispy polenta, especially if it’s going to taste like Mexican street corn….

  20. Ok, so you couldn’t have described the Sufjan concert better! Haha. We saw him in KC a few weeks ago. And, I will take all of these polenta bites!!

  21. Omgness these are luscious!!! I’ve been meaning to make something with polenta, but..I’m afraid you’ve outdone yourself again. This also needs to be on a wedding hors d’ouvres menu, and happy birthday to Lucas!!!!! <3 Have a sweet start of the week, chica~

  22. mira says:

    Glad you had a great day Sarah! Love Mexican street corn and these bites look so delicious! Gorgeous pictures :)

  23. yummy yummy!! This is brilliant! I love Mexican Street Corn and Polenta. You’re so inspiring Sarah! looking forward to our little reunion :) And happy birthday to your Lucas! :)

  24. Hmmm…seems I have already snuck my 6 mile jog in before your first alarm even goes off. And my poor hubs. . . he is not a morning person but gets yanked out of bed at the crack of dawn. . .even on his precious weekends. Well. . .it sounds like you & Lucas had an interesting day long birthday celebration. . .but the best part that came out of the whole festive day is these little yummies. Street corn on a polenta morsel. . .I’m in. :-)

  25. What the yum. I just spent the last few days in Austin getting overloaded with meat and corn, and these *still* sound awesome right now.

    I’m sad I missed out on Bite! Just down the street from me, too. :( Maybe next year.

  26. This is happening. STAT. Dang does that polenta look gooood! You are quite brilliant, ya know? And happy birthday to Lucas!

  27. Yes please. I need these for lunch pronto!

  28. These Mexican bites look AMAZING! Ah I just want to eat one so much. Your photography is stunning as always.

  29. Ummmm…..m going crazy to prepare it. Thanks for the recipe :) Mexican street corn with polenta bringing out a delicious item to have and I can assume how wonderful the birthday has been spent and your presentations are very impressive.

  30. Marissa says:

    What a festive appetizer or snack! We eat our weight in Mexican Street Corn during the summer. Love that we have a new twist on it to try. Thanks, Sarah!

  31. Happy birthday to Lucas!!
    And these polenta bites look so good! Why have I never tried polenta before??

  32. Aysegul says:

    What a great appetizer idea. Not to mention super simple to make. Love it!
    PS: YAY to sleeping in!

  33. Eric always makes fun of me because I never delete any of the alarm times on my phone, I just add new ones. So if you look at my phone you will see times for 6:45, 7:00, 7:05, 7:10, 7:25, 7:45….and on and on. You are not the only ones. :) I’m still jealous of the Sufjan concert, even if you got contact high.

  34. These look unreal! tell Lucas happy very belated birthday for me! It sounds like you guys did a great job celebrating. Will have to check out Bite!

  35. I’m the same way! I don’t think I’ve ever gotten up the first time the alarm went off, it is just impossible!

    These are the cutest little appetizers ever! I’ve been grilling all the corn lately, it is pretty much the only way to go in the summer :)

  36. Gonna need to put these little bites all in my mouth at once. BiteSV style. Eat until you can eat no more! Literally!!

  37. Lynn says:

    Is there a way to cook the polenta in bulk like in the oven? I want to make for a party with 65 guests and do not want to spend the entire time grilling polenta.

    • Hi! I think you could absolutely cook them in the oven – you’re really just heating the polenta, so maybe I’d cook them in the oven for a few minutes, then flip and broil for 1-2 minutes to get some color. Good luck!

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